Garmin is known for its outstanding fitness tracker smart watches. Last year, Garmin announced Vivoactive 4 & 4S watches (both only differ in price) with loads of fitness tracking options and other exciting features. The GPS equipped tracker comes with premium features such as onboard music storage that can support several hundreds of songs, advanced sleep tracking, Garmin Pay (contactless payments), animated workouts, pulse OX sensors, over 20 inbuilt workout apps, hydration tracking, and many more features. Garmin Vivoactive 4S was initially priced at a whopping $350, but the price came down to less than $300 at the time of writing.
Garmin is promising 7 days of battery life in regular smartwatch mode. That’s a lot for a feature rich premium smartwatch. We will check if Garmin lived up to its promises.
Key points :
- Animated workouts
- Hydration tracking
- Contactless payments
- Heart rate tracking
- Pulse Oximeter sensors
- Body Battery
- Water resistant
Garmin Vivoactive 4S Review Screen & Design :
The Garmin Vivoactive 4S comes in a circular flat analog watch design. The display of the device is made up of 1.1 inch TFT (Thin film transistor) screen which has a longer life span. Garmin Vivoactive 4S has a touch interface display with 218 * 218 pixel screen resolution. The screen of the Garmin Vivoactive 4S is covered by a durable gorilla glass, and also has sunlight readable Garmin chroma display. Garmin Vivoactive 4S weighs approximatley around 40 grams which is less than the weight of Apple Watch 6. The strap of the device is made of silicon material and is changeable, fits up to 18mm.
Garmin Vivoactive 4S has a 5ATM water resistant rating which means you can take the watch to a nice shower or have it during swimming. The device has a good battery life that lasts up to 7 days in smart watch mode, upto 5 hours in GPS mode and music, and up to 15hrs with GPS mode without music. The reason for stretching GPS Mode + Music is because you use both the features during most of your outdoor fitness pursuits (GPS for accurate tracking and navigation. Music is generally on for many fitness enthusiasts). Still, 5 hours with both on should be sufficient enough for most of your fitness activities. With 4GB internal storage, you can store several hundreds of songs (more than 500).
The Garmin Vivoactive 4S is equipped with an accelerometer. It also has a GPS with Galileo and Glonass along with a gyro sensor which is used to check athletic movement. The Garmin Vivoactive 4S has 20 inbuilt sports apps that can track various workouts such as walking, running, cycling, swimming and many more. We have preloaded workouts that can show a short animated clip (animated workout) to help you assist with the exercise. Strength, Yoga and Pilates workouts come loaded on the watch, and you can also download more from the Garmin Connect app. With the internal storage, the watch can support downloaded playlists from spotify and other music accounts. You can also connect to IQ store for downloading apps, watch faces and many more.
Animation workouts :
Garmin Vivoactive 4s includes a number of indoor and outdoor workouts, so here while you’re doing your workouts Garmin Vivoactive 4S will help you to see human animation on the screen showing you each and every exercise with instructions, this is the new feature in the Garmin device. These animations stay for a few seconds on the screen in such a way that you could be able to see how to properly do the exercises. And animations like these make it easy for anyone to do any type of exercise they want to do. It acts as a guide for the users, you can also view these animations right from your phone .
Hydration tracking :
Taking enough water is very important, and we see many fitness trackers coming up with features that remind you or assist you with your water intake goals. Garmin Vivoactive 4s provides you to set reminders of your daily fluid intake. Especially if you are a sports enthusiast, hydrated throughout the day becomes even more important. Of course, Garmin cannot track your water intake unless you say it. You need to set your hydration goals and use the watch’s interface to track your goals on a daily basis. Based on the data record you entered, the smartwatch starts adjusting your goals and sets reminders. The device can also adjust your goals based on how much sweat you lose while you are doing your workouts.
Advanced sleep monitoring:
The Vivoactive 4S tracks your light, deep and REM sleep stages, and shows a clear picture of your sleep with the distinction between the sleep stages. Garmin Vivoactive 4S sleep tracker not only tracks your sleep but also tracks your blood oxygen levels (pulse oximeter) and respiration data during the sleep. All combined, we see nice visualizations of our sleep quality in the Garmin Connect app.
Contactless payments are only going to increase going forward. Setting up your card is very easy. you can manually enter the details of your credit card, or you can just scan the card from Garmin Pay contactless payment. One or more cards can be added using Garmin Pay. This feature is also secured with a pin code. while entering your passcode, 3 incorrect passcode attempts can result in wallet block. You again need to go to the Garmin App in the phone to set up a new pass code.
As put forward by Garmin, the contactless payment feature is not available in all the countries. You need to check if your payment network and country is supported before making a purchase.
The other incredible feature of Garmin Vivoactive 4S is the body battery. This feature mainly provides a detailed and overall analysis of your energy levels in the form of points which is rated up to 1-100. Garmin uses multiple signals including your heart rate, stress, sleep quality, and your fitness activity to arrive at a general score that indicates your body battery.
The body battery rating is intuitively divided into 4 quarters. A rating of 0-25 indicates very low energy level, while any score between 75-100 indicates high energy levels.
Usually the body battery shows you a higher score in the morning when you wake up from your bed, then starts draining gradually based on the work you do throughout the day. Body battery provides points in the ratio of how many battery points were recharged vs how many battery points were drained. When you do not wear your watch for a long period of time then the watch will reset its body battery score and starts measuring your body battery right from the moment you start wearing the watch.
Heart rate :
The heart rate monitor displays your current heart rate in beats per minute (bpm) and a graph of your heart rate. The graph shows your heart rate activity. High to low heart rate is shown using color coded bars that indicate different modulations in the heart rate.
You also can check resting heart rate. Resting heart rate directionally shows how good your fitness level is (the lesser the better). An additional feature is that Garmin Vivoactive 4s can also detect your heart rate under the water with the use of an optical heart rate sensor which always remains in contact with your skin.
Additional features :
Garmin Vivoactive 4S Review, Your device can also create a daily step goal automatically based on your previous activity levels. You have the flexibility to turn on/off goal alerts, or turn them off only during activities.
Garmin Coach offers you to set an adaptive training plan with the Garmin Vivoactive 4S. Here you can choose your expert running coach and your race goal, then receive guidance with a free training plan which includes workouts selected for you. These workouts get synced to your watch and will adjust to get harder or easier based on your performance in the plan. You choose one of many plans that best fit your race goal and workouts based on your abilities. This plan also provides support for beginner to intermediate users.
Final verdict :
Garmin Vivoactive 4S ( ‘S’ indicates smaller in size with the same features as Vivoactive 4) is arguably the best fitness smartwatch. The watch came with many exciting features such as Inbuilt GPS, Internal storage for music, Body battery, Animated workouts, Fitness coach, Contactless payments using Garmin Pay, Auto activity tracking, and many more.
While the Apple Watch is equally good (or even better), the Apple Watch series do not solely focus on fitness. However, fitness tracking is a unique selling point for Garmin, and it’s up to the buyers to decide what is important for them in a smartwatch. The device is slightly expensive as it doesn’t have cellular connectivity, ECG and a few more features that are available in Samsung/Fitbit watches in the similar price range. The cost of the Garmin Vivoactive 4S is nearly equal to Samsung Galaxy watch, which has many additional features that Vivoactive 4S doesn’t have (cellular connectivity, ECG etc.). But from a fitness perspective, you don’t need to look for a second option. Garmin Vivoactive 4S smartwatch is a complete package for fitness enthusiasts.